Tag Archives: Taipei

The magic of travelling

After three weeks of travelling in Japan and Hong Kong I came back to Taipei. I felt a bit dissapointed when I looked out of the bus window and felt nothing special. No special feelings, no excitement of awe of new things. Well there was no new things here so I guess it shouldn’t be surprise. Still, it was a bit of a surprise for me. I watched my familiar surroundings with a bit of a dull feeling until I got clores the university. Then I suddenly started feeling like coming back to home. That was odd and I wasn’t really expecting that. But when I saw the the golden light of setting sun on buildings down hill when I pushed my luggage uphill and bumped to some familiar faces waiting for my room key. It was like I never left. Okay, it was only for 3 weeks that I was gone, but it felt like a lifetime.

In Japan everything is so organized, clean and almost peacefull all the time and in Hong Kong I felt like being in a comletly different universe with all those high high buildings and amazing views.. Before I had a thought that all the places in Asia were similar to each other somehow, but as I spend more time here I notice how stupid idea that has been. Every place has their own athmosphere and specialities. Those things that make you even like it or hate it or both. In Japan I love gardens but I don’t like how people can’t communicate in English. I love how easy it is to find new things in a big city and feel that nature is close even though all those millons of people. I love how I start to recognize places in anime and notice familiarity where there was oddity before. In Hong Kong I love the tall buildings and light at night. I don’t like how people don’t act considerate in MTR.

In Taiwan I love so many things and I feel that all the time those things multiply. There is some things I don’t like here, for example that people can’t use public toilets properly and there is always a huge mess or that every time there is a map they have turned it to other way around than in the place I saw the same map before.

Now I have my room organized and I am feeling positive about my summer school. Only four weeks left and then I have to get back to the reality called Finland.

Dragon boat festival

boat

Dragon boat and “zongzi”

It is time for Dragon boat festival. It is one of the three big celebrations in Taiwan. Others are Chinese new year around a month after ours and the moon festival in Autumn. I have heard some stories about the reason for this festival. Usually people tell me that it is to celebrate one Chinese poet called Qu Yuan. He was a poet about 300 years B.C. at the time of Zhou Dynasty. That time there was seven different parts of China who all fight each other. The king whom this poet served formed an ally with another king and Yuan was exiled and even called traitor because he opposed the alliance. After some time alliance turned out to be a bad idea, the capital of poets kingdom was captured by the other party of the alliance.

The poet was devastated and jumped into a river to commit a suicide. Local people gathered in boats and tried to save him or at least retrieve his body and this was how dragon boat races, one of the main events in this festival, was started. One other distinctive feature at dragon boat festival is sticky rice cakes called zongzi. The legend tells that people tried to throw these cakes in to the river for the fishes to eat so that they wouldn’t eat the body of the poet. People have offered zongzi for me about two weeks already and I actually like those rice cakes bind with bamboo leaves quite a lot.

zongzi

Zongzi nomnom

team

A dragon boat race team

vene

Safety first. People keeping eye on the race.

The dragon boat festival is a three days long event this year starting from Saturday and ending on Monday which is a public holiday here in Taiwan. I was told that on the festival site there is a huge amount of people and lots to eat etc. So I went to visit one festival place on Saturday noon. It was actually really difficult to find because the park where it was was huge and I didn’t even notice the festival site from other end of the park. When the place was finally found I was surprised to notice that there was not that many people there. Most of them were participants in the boat race and there wasn’t much else to see. I guess that this was because it was too early and only the first day of the festival. Maybe today there would be more people to see the finals of the race.

Bye bye Finland

16.00 Helsinki-Vantaan lentokenttä

We are sitting at the airport waiting for the boarding time. Half an hour to go and I’m so excited! I have been grinning for days. Only difficulty is that I have to go through customs in Shanghai. That means that I have to pick up my big luggage, go to customs and then go through check-in again. We have six hours before the plane to Taiwan leaves so I hope that is plenty of time to do everything.

heilutus

(16.05 FIN) 22.05 Taipei, Taiwan.

I would have liked to update this also in Shanghai, but aparently Free Wifi means free wifi for those who have chinese cellphone number.. 😛 I almost got nervous when one of the staff members in Finland started to wonder why we didn’t have visas to China. I haven’t even thought that we might need one for just passing by. But aparently we didn’t.

So we got safely to Shanghai and got my luggage and went to chek-in again. Only this time we were too early and we had to wait 2 hours before we could even chek-in. But couple of words about the flight. I dislike long flights, I usually don’t get enought sleep. This time we had also one screaming Chinese woman at the middle of the night and after that some really chatty teenagers right behind us. Nice.. I felt like an old grumpy lady who would have liked to hit everyone. To face. With a chair. Also our seats were right at the back of the plane, so there was always quite bright lights for the flight attendants.

I got some sleep on the Shanghai airport and more on the fight to Taipei. The flight was a bit late so more sleep to me! Our tutors found us easily and after that everything has been easy! I will tell more about that tomorrow. But I have to say, that now that I have been flying around more, I’m not that scared about the security checks (even though they always have something to ask me). It feel nice not to be so scared.